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Bardstown Bethlehem, St. Henry complete repeat, emerge victorious in Saturday’s All ‘A’ Classic finals

By Chad Hensley
KyForward sports reporter

St. Henry used a 27-point effort from Wyatt Vieth and repeated as the boys All “A” Classic champions during a 74-57 win over Clinton County on Saturday at Eastern Kentucky University’s McBrayer Arena.

Bethlehem (20-4) also repeated as the girls All “A” Classic champions with a 53-43 win over Walton-Verona earlier in the day.

St. Henry players pose with the All “A” Classic championship trophy after posting a 74-57 win over Clinton County on Saturday afternoon. (Photo provided)

All “A” Classic Boys Championship

St. Henry wins third All “A” title in school history

Clinton County held its own against the tournament favorites and even led 16-14 at the end of the first quarter behind six points from Blake Melton.

Vieth poured in 10 points in the opening stanza, but he was limited to just a couple minutes of action after picking up his second foul at the 5:23 mark of the second quarter.

With Vieth on the bench, St. Henry (15-2) head coach Dave Faust watched the rest of his team step up and perform in the clutch, turning a first-quarter deficit into a 35-30 halftime lead.

St. Henry senior forward Jude Bessler was named to the All-Tournament Team. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Shooting 50 percent or better in basketball will typically set a team up for victory, but Clinton County’s 24-for-48 performance from the field was eclipsed by St. Henry’s 29-for-48 performance.

St. Henry eventually pulled away from Clinton County (18-3), outscoring the Bulldogs 39-27 in the second half.

Vieth’s 12-for-16 shooting performance, including 1-for-1 from behind the arc, helped the Thomas More University commit lock up tournament Most Valuable Player honors for the second straight season.

Jude Bessler scored 13 points as St. Henry repeated as All “A” Classic champions. It marked the third time the Crusaders have captured the All “A” Classic title. St. Henry also won the event in 2003.

Cody Teten finished with 11 points for St. Henry. Bessler, Teten and Ryan Butler joined Vieth on the All-Tournament team for the Crusaders.

Nick Delk’s 19 points and five rebounds led the Bulldogs in their first All “A” Classic finals appearance. Melton finished with 17 points after having exited with an injury in Clinton County’s semifinal win on Friday night.

All ‘A’ Classic Girls Championship

Banshees declaw Bearcats, win second All “A” girls title

Bethlehem used a complete team effort with four players scoring in double figures to defeat Walton-Verona in the finals for the second time in as many seasons.

Xaviara Smalley of Bethlehem (right) blocks a shot attempt by Walton-Verona’s Grace Brewer. (Photo by Carla Martin)

Ella Thompson earned the tournament’s MVP award after scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the finals.

Xaviara Smalley netted 12 points as Bethlehem’s top player off the bench throughout the tournament. Smalley also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.

Bethlehem jumped out a seven-point lead three times in the first quarter, but Walton-Verona (15-7) kept fighting throughout the first half grabbing a 24-22 lead with 5:15 left in the second quarter.

The lead for Walton-Verona was short-lived as Smalley hit a basket 10 seconds later to even the score at 24-24.

Walton-Verona’s offense stalled thanks to sound defensive pressure from the Banshees and did not score again until 49 seconds remaining in the half. Bethlehem outscored Walton-Verona 9-5 in the third and sealed the title by knocking down seven free throws in 11 attempts during the fourth quarter.

Walton-Verona’s Maggie Buerger led all scorers with 14 points, while teammate Haylee Neeley added 12 points on four 3-pointers.

Buerger, Neeley and Kylie Lay earned selections to the All-Tournament team for Walton-Verona.

Smalley, Amelia Hodges and Carlie Thurmond joined Thompson on the All-Tournament team for the Banshees.

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